Jerome Sinclair, who is expected to be on the bench for Watford today, says he returns to Anfield with no axe to grind.
The forward rejected the offer of a new contract at Anfield and was frozen out following a substitute appearance in an FA Cup fourth-round tie with West Ham United. Free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement without having to get Liverpool’s permission, he spoke to Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth before plumping for Watford. He returns to the club he spent five years at this afternoon but doesn’t feel he has a point to prove. Well, not publicly anyway.
“I got the chance to work alongside some top quality players and developed my game,” he said of his time in the red half of Liverpool. “I was only a kid when I went there. I don’t have a bad word to say about the club – it’s a great club and I’m proud to have been able to represent them. It was tough [to leave] but it was about taking the right step football wise. I needed to keep improving and developing and this [moving to Watford] was the best step in my career.
“It was a chance to go to a big family club. You can really tell this is a club on the up. A lot of funds have been pumped into the club and it’s now a solid Premier League team. We are only going to get better.”
Troy Deeney has taken his fellow Brummie under his wing, and up to the Midlands where Deeney is now based. “He’s been in Liverpool for a little while so he’s gone a bit soft,” joked Deeney in an interview with Forever Sports.
“Troy and me have got a connection, as we are both from Birmingham,” said Sinclair. “He’s been like a big brother kind of figure for me.”
He won’t say it but you get the impression Sinclair is itching for some first team game time. He’s been named on the bench four times – two either side of a hamstring injury – and fans we spoke to are keen to see what the England youth international can do. He gave a glimpse with a smartly-taken far-post header in the pre-season friendly at Stevenage.
“It will be a bit weird going there not being a Liverpool player but I can’t wait,” he said. “Hopefully it’s a good game and we get the right result. It will be good to go back and see a few familiar faces. I’ve kept an eye on them and they have been doing well but so have we. On our day we can compete with anyone. It doesn’t matter who the opposition is, we are going there to win the game.”
In his very short career, Sinclair has worked under Brendan Rodgers, Jurgen Klopp and now Walter Mazzarri. How does he rate the Italian head coach?
“It’s been great,” he said. “It’s a different style but he’s helping me all the time. I’ll play anywhere and try and do a job but I think I can excel anywhere across the attacking line.”